How NOT to sound American

If you’re as fascinated by language as I am, especially by the differences between American and British English, you may want to head over to the “Americanisms” section of the Economist‘s style guide.

The erudite London-based mag offers its journalists tips for how to make sure their prose doesn’t sound too American, including the following:

  • Hikes are walks, not increases. Vegetables, not teenagers, should be fresh. Only the speechless are dumb, the well-dressed smart and the insane mad. Scenarios are best kept for the theatre, postures for the gym, parameters for the parabola.”
  • “Use senior rather than ranking, rumpus rather than ruckus, and rumbustious rather than rambunctious.” [Rambustious? That’s a new one.]
  • And most importantly, “Gubernatorial is an ugly word that can almost always be avoided.”

And who says the Economist is without a (very dry) sense of humor? Check out this tip:

  • “Try not to verb nouns or to adjective them.”

This, in a nutshell, is the British sense of humor.

Whole thing here. [via Chris Blattman]